Renters fight St. Paul eviction orderby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Residents facing imminent eviction gathered Sunday to protest at Westminster Apartments on St. Paul's north end and to meet with state agencies and nonprofits.
The city of St. Paul has condemned the Westminster Apartments, and management company Equimax Real Estate says residents must leave before workers start renovations.
Residents say the management company could do repairs without evicting them. Vera Ashley of the Minnesota Tenants Union says evicted residents won't be able to find low-income housing quickly.
"That's what they want to do -- is kick them out and not give them nothing," Ashley says, "and so OK, you got 30 days to be in the street. They're not dogs."
Ashley's group has appealed the condemnation order. Residents have asked for $2,000 each to relocate. Management officials say they're doing what they can to help residents find new homes, but they will not provide that money.
Owner Wade Shatzer of Equimax Real Estate says he has no choice but to evict residents in order to make renovations.
"We want to do everything we can to help them find places," Shatzer says. "We've given them lists of all the vacancies in the area. We've done a lot of legwork for them. A lot of them have actually had pretty good luck finding places. A lot of these people are, frankly, overpaying their rent. They're going to end up moving to a nice, clean, safe apartment, and they're probably going to end up paying $50 a month less."
Residents, however, say the rental market is tight.